IT Training Helps Young People Thrive in India’s Digital Economy

by Dipak Basu, CEO of the Anudip Foundation
Mar 29, 2017 3:45 PM ET

Anudip Foundation is a nonprofit company working for the economic empowerment of at-risk youth. We believe the key to human progress and sustainability is skill development and financial stability.

Anudip operates in India, where half the country’s population of 1.25 billion people is under 25 years of age, and 68 percent of its population depends on agriculture. Unfortunately, cultivable land is limited in supply and can no longer support this population. As a result, high unemployment prevails, especially affecting educated rural youth, of whom 100 million are jobless or underemployed.

Meanwhile, according to NASSCOM, the information technology industry in India has created direct employment for 2.2 million people and indirect employment of 8 million people. By 2020, the figures are expected to rise to 10 million and 20 million respectively. Anudip is dedicated to capitalizing on this opportunity. We do so by enabling rural and semi-urban youth to develop skills for secure employment in the IT and internet services sector.

Since its inception in 2007, Anudip has trained over 60,000 youth at more than 150 training centers across India. This, combined with our relationships with 300+ employers, has resulted in a 75 percent job placement rate. Anudip’s beneficiary base includes high-need and marginalized communities such as ethnic and religious minorities, tribal populations, political refugees, and people with disabilities.

One of those beneficiaries is Kunal Bhattacharya. Kunal works at Wishnet in Kolkata, India as a Technical Support Officer. He earns INR₹8000 (US$120) per month and says his income has resulted in financial stability for him and his family. “Earlier, my family income was approximately 900 rupee (US$14) per month,” Kunal says. “At that time, my father, a small businessman, was the sole earning member. He had to work extremely hard, but made sure that I completed my schooling.”

Kunal wanted to help his father by contributing to the family income and was determined to get a job. Through friends, he learned about Anudip Foundation and its Digital Academy program, which provides technical training and job placement.

“The prospect of receiving high-level technical training as well as securing a stable job drew me toward the program,” Kunal says. “I worked hard during the training process, learned as much as I could and did well. I persevered during the placement process and this helped me prepare thoroughly for my job interviews. My hard work along with the continued support I received from Anudip staff was crucial in enabling me to secure my present position.”

Digital Jobs Transform Families and Communities

More than 45,000 students like Kunal have been placed in new economy jobs, helping to increase financial stability for their families. An average three-fold increase in family income on account of our intervention allows access to basic facilities such as health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation, housing, and energy. This empowerment improves the purchasing power of a family, its standard of living, and brings change in its social standing within the community.

Our work also has an indirect but noteworthy impact in the socio-economic development of the community. A growing percentage (now 45%) of women are taking part in our training programs to start up a business or work in jobs. They now have a voice in their own lives, leading to avoidance of early marriage and marriage for convenience, and can send their children and siblings to better schools.